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THE AVOCADO BRAVADO DESPERADO AFFAIR
There is a lot of mundane, dull work to be done in shops. It has to be tackled but it is hardly challenging to the brain cells a lot of the time. You know the kind of boring stuff – walking round being Mr Happy, smiling at people you do not like, checking the cleaning, picking up litter and squashed grapes, filling shelves, telling people off, listening to customers complaining about the price of fish or a wonky trolley. Sometimes, a new experience makes the day more exciting. The lady with the two avocado pears is a hard case to beat. She asked to see me in private, as she was prone to burst into tears at any moment because of the trauma I had caused her. She catered at home for her husband’s business clients and, the previous weekend, had settled on an avocado and prawn starter. She bought the pears from my shop. But when she peeled them, both were mottled brown inside. She explained emotionally that these two small, crinkly items had destroyed her confidence in the kitchen. In short, she panicked at the dinner party and opened a tin of soup – the indignity of serving cock-a-leekie as her husband was about to clinch a deal had left her scarred, embarrassed and inadequate. Her ego had been casseroled by this appalling incident. Our discussion was like a therapy session and when I asked how best to resolve it for her, quick as a flash she perked up and said: “Each dinner party costs me £75, so if you pay me £75, that will do.” My excuse is that I was too taken aback to disagree. I still wince when I think of the two most expensive avocado pears in history but The Avocado Bravado Desperado Affair is a lesson for all shop managers to reassess the fruits of their labours, to tolerate crab-apple customers, to avoid sour grapes and to admit defeat when you know you’ve been mangoed.